Today we’re hosting Day 2 of a 5-day virtual tour for Michael Read’s new book for children, The Adventures of the Parsley Family and the Dancing Snails.
This tour is sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center.
In today’s post, Michael tells about his life as a writer.
My Life as a Writer – Michael Read
When I first started writing in early 2014 I was ‘busy’ writing very regularly.
The stories came thick and fast!
I settled down to write in pencil in an exercise book and then type them up at a later date and often modify them at this stage.
Illustrations were important as the ‘Essex Snails’ world was in my head and I needed to get the adventures down in words as fast as they were coming into my head, but also to get a feel of what the snails looked like.
They needed character and they needed to look different as each group was introduced, especially the ‘core groups’; the Essex, Norfolk and Beach Snails.
I went onto Google and searched on drawing snails and that produced the Essex and Norfolk Snails and then I became aware that shops sold snails I started collecting and one of these became the Beach Snail prototype for the males.
I stayed with the female format for the ladies as used for the Essex and the Norfolk’s.
The Parsley family would become ‘Snail Guardians!’ Not a view shared by gardeners. But there you go.
I drew a plan of the garden (that was the garden of my granddaughters house at that time) and drew in the access to the Norfolk garden next door under the fence which is pretty straight forward.
I needed a group of snails that would be different and came up with the idea of snails flying in on coffins via the Funeral Parlour that was behind the garden wall of the Parsley family home.
But how would the Essex Snails get to it? Over the wall for ‘first contact’ was OK, but impractical for any future visits.
Then I thought about Trixie making a tunnel under the wall with a large stick.
Cool! A solution! Magic! Snail Guardian to the rescue! Enter the Beach Snails from the good old US of A!
Book 1 introduced snails from places that my wife and I visit and following the seasons and festival days of the UK calendar with a format that included dance, food and some history. This theme is carried on in Book 2. (Unpublished as of Aug 2016).
As a writer I enjoy the stimulus from an article I read, or a news item or just information, a gift snail that someone gives me inspires a story.
My granddaughters love the children’s song, ‘Nellie the Elephant’, so I wrote a story of Shelly the Snailephant (Book 2), who ran away from the Snail Circus and takes refuge in the Essex Snail garden as she is being chased by the Circus Police and Sniffer Snails.
I love Sniffer Snails!
The Santa Snail story woke me up in the middle of the night as did the ‘Midsummer Eve’ fairy story (Both Book 2 stories).
I am writing Book 3 now.
I go for a long time not writing, but accumulating ideas in my exercise books.
My wife and I spend months each year in Spain and Cyprus and the life style is very different and I have plenty of time to write and type up the stories.
It’s quiet, sunny and bright – very relaxing which gives me a lot of time to ‘think’.
An example of being inspired: I was sitting in our house in Pathos, Cyprus and I heard a dog barking, but it wasn’t a regular bark; it was intermittent and the tone was up and down as was the volume. It was erratic.
This inspired a short story for Book 3, ‘The Barking Dog Trainer’. Written in about 20 minutes and a great short story!
See a lot more at www.snailguardians.co.uk and an Amazon app to order my book.
Get the link for Day 3 of this tour tomorrow at the National Writing for Children Center.